I Press on Toward the Goal for the Prize
Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12 NASB
There are many aspects to and pictures of the Prize, the consummation of which is the New Jerusalem. But I want to focus on the Good Land.
Beginning with Abraham, God called out a People to take possession of the Good Land. The Good Land is a type of Christ as Everything for us. The Good Land is the All-Inclusive Christ.
Today, this Good Land is in our spirit.
Joshua the son of Nun, who stands before you, he shall enter. Encourage him, for he shall cause Israel to inherit it. And as for your little ones, who you said would become a prey, and your children, who today have no knowledge of good or evil, they shall go in there. And to them I will give it, and they shall possess it. But as for you, turn, and journey into the wilderness in the direction of the Red Sea.’ Deuteronomy 1:38-40 ESV
The first generation in the wilderness is a picture of the old man, who couldn’t overcome the flesh and experience all that Christ is for us. But second generation is a picture of the New Man. It’s the New Man, having no knowledge of good or evil, who can take possession of the Good Land.
Adam, the first Man, ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. But in Christ, the second Man, Adam has been terminated. All that is of Adam has died in the wilderness.
So the Israelites pass through the Jordan, a figure of our baptism, death, and resurrection in Christ. It’s the Ark, a type of Christ, that leads the Way. Then the Israelites are commanded to circumcise themselves.
We are the real Hebrews, which means river-crossers. We are the ones circumcised in our hearts.
“When the Lord your God cuts off before you the nations whom you go in to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, Deuteronomy 12:29 ESV
Not only were the Israelites to cut off their flesh in circumcision, but they were to cut off the people in the Good Land. All of the Canaanites are a type of the flesh and the kings are a type of the evil powers that govern our flesh.
Even though, objectively, we have been crucified with Christ, we must apply His finished work by the Spirit, who is the very effectiveness of His death and resurrection. This is the picture that we have of the circumcision and the cutting off of the people’s from the Good Land.
If we are to take full possession of the Good Land, we must have practical daily experience of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ by the Spirit.
In Joshua, we have some pictures to give us practical help in overcoming and taking Christ as Everything for us.
Jericho, with its high walls, is a great big picture of the flesh. The Israelites didn’t need to struggle against Jericho. They walked around it by Faith. They walked with the Ark, as a type of Christ. They blew the Ram’s Horn, a type of announcing the Gospel of Christ as the fighting power. See Overcoming Jericho.
Being right before the Lord.
After Jericho, the Israelites attacked Ai. They spied out Ai and saw that the enemies were few there, and didn’t even send all the people to fight. But, they didn’t contact God and they kept something from Jericho against God’s command. So, Israel was defeated because it wasn’t right with God.
We don’t need more introspection, but we do need to go before the Lord and allow Him to illuminate our being. We are His House and He desires to keep His House clean. Don’t take a flashlight(introspection) to look for dirt, but turn to the light switch(the Spirit) to shine. He will show you everywhere that you are not right before the Lord. Wait on Him. Don’t rush ahead. Stay in the shining of the Lord. This Life within us is the Light of men. We are men, so His Life is our Light to shine in us. Stay in the cleansing flow of His River of Life. We walk in this world it’s too easy to get dirty. Our feet are always in contact with the world. This is the reason that Jesus washed the disciples’ feet. He is the Spirit washing our dirty feet in an inward way today.
Not being deceived by the flesh.
Next is the picture of the Gibeonites. Unlike Ai, the Gibeonites did not come to fight against Israel, but came to deceive it. The Gibeonites pretended to be poor travelers from far away and convinced Israel to make a covenant with them.
In regards to your flesh, you may say that this aspect or that feature is not so bad. You consider it to be useful for the Lord. Perhaps you are naturally a great speaker. Once you used your speaking for yourself, now you will use it for the Lord. Whether your natural speaking is for yourself or for the Lord it doesn’t matter. What matters is the source. The source of your speaking is the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Only if your strong speaking is crucified, can it be useful to the Lord in resurrection. Then God will be the Source of your speaking. Then whether you speak clearly or with stuttering, God’s Life will flow through your speaking because He is your Source.
If you embrace your natural strengths, you are just like Israel. You forget your Husband and go ahead to make a covenant with your flesh. We must always wait on our Husband. The River of Life flows from the Throne, the Lord’s Headship. Only when we are living practically under our Husband’s Headship, will we enjoy the Flow of His Life.
Not taking your own choice.
The Lord desired to give the Good Land to the tribes of Israel. But, two and a half tribes didn’t want to cross the Jordan. They wanted the land before the Jordan, because it was good for their livestock. God gave them their choice and because of their choice, they would be the first tribes attacked by invaders and they wouldn’t have the protection of the Jordan.
You must not take your own choice, dear children. You must wait on the Lord. You must drop your opinions. You must be One with God’s People. As long as there is no sin or idol, be One with God’s People. If the saints are loud, be loud with them. If the saints are quiet, be quiet with them. Drop the ordinances in your heart that cause enmity between you and the Body. Water baptism by immersion or sprinkling? In a pool or in a lake? Drop your opinion in such matters. Who cares if you are right? The Oneness of the Body is far more important. We must march as One together with the Lord.
Not giving up and settling for less than God’s desire.
If you go on reading the Scriptures, you will find that the Israelites never fully cut off their enemies. They became content with the little that they had gained and gave up the fighting. Thus, they suffered. They succumbed to idolatry, to sin, and to invasions by the enemy.
I do think that many of you are defeated and accept that defeat as “this is just the way it is”. You are just waiting for Jesus to return to make everything better. But that isn’t God’s Economy. There is a reason Jesus calls for Overcomers. There is a reason Jesus warns of unfaithful servants, of virgins without Oil. God’s Economy to fulfill His Eternal Purpose is to dispense Himself into us to be our Life and Life-supply, so that He saturates us and constitutes our entire being, starting with our spirit and working His way out to our mind, will, emotions, and someday to our resurrected Body. This is why we eat His flesh and drink His blood. You are what you eat. So keep eating God in Christ. It’s the eating that gives us Strength for working and for fighting.
You must not accept defeat. We fight by turning to the Lord and continually receiving Christ and all that He is for us by Faith. Are your tired? Christ is your Energy. Are you hungry? Christ is your great Feast. The same Power that resurrected and ascended a Man to be seated in the heavenlies at the right hand of God, is now in us. This same Power is flowing towards us who believe!
All of the difficulties, the trials, the drynesses, are for our growth. If we will persevere in pursuing the Lord and enjoying Him day-by-day we will grow. It’s through the dry times that the roots of the trees dig deeper searching for Water. Dig deeper into our Lord. He is perfecting us. Keep turning to Him, loving Him, enjoying Him, all the time, and you won’t be disappointed. You will have the growth in Life and when the Lord appears in glory, so will you. What has been wrought in you in secret, will be manifested outwardly in great glory.